Study of Innovative Cancer Radiation Response Blood Test Opens at UF

Dr. Paul Okunieff, Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the UF College of MedicineWhile radiation is required by 70 percent of cancer patients, there is currently no reliable methodology for determining its adverse effects during treatment. A clinical study at UF is aiming to change this.

Blood specimens are being collected and analyzed from up to 500 patients undergoing radiotherapy for prostate cancer at multiple U.S. clinical sites. The study aims to create personalized toxicity endpoints so that patients can be subcategorized into risk groups.

“We are fulfilling an unmet medical need in cancer radiation therapy by enabling the direct monitoring of side effect severity and tumor response within days of treatment initiation,” said Paul Okunieff, MD, Co-Principal Investigator and Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the UF College of Medicine (shown right). “ It is a very exciting opportunity for the UF Department of Radiation Oncology and the Okunieff Lab to make a real difference in the quality and safety of care for individual cancer patients.”

Dr. Okunieff and the University of Florida Health Cancer Center Radiation Oncology team are developing the radiation toxicity biomarker, known as the RadTox™ cfDNA test, through a $2 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract.

For more information, contact Study Coordinator Alesa Flewellen, Research Coordinator II, at 352-265-8094.

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